Monday, September 29, 2014

Latest work: "Offshore"

Paper from a vintage Japanese book, painted rice papers, braille paper and more went into this piece, which began as a physical collage. I brought it into the computer and added additional photos and there you have it.

©Carol Leigh

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Latest work: "Wing Shimmer Pacific Northwest"

This piece is made entirely of various sheets and bits of antique Japanese ink-washed paper. As I was layering the papers, simply experimenting, this image showed up, which immediately made me think of outstretched wings, a beak, and a tail, all heading toward the upper left, the northwest. And as I gazed at it, I began to notice the subtle circular pattern as well.

Yes, I know this may sound a bit woo-woo, but ravens and crows are meaningful parts of my life, as are the contrasts between hard, linear elements and softer, organic ones. So that's what I offer you here: mystic weirdness and basic geometry!

©Carol Leigh

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ah, autumn!

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Photomontage created using forsythia leaves and the cover of a vintage Japanese book.

©Carol Leigh

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's like a slide show in my brain . . .

“The quest to photograph has become a substitute for the experience itself. . . By producing a camera, suddenly you are once removed from the scene.”Sophie Grove, Monocle Magazine

Toward the end of my stay in Virginia, I made time to go over to Maryland and visit a student, Kathleen Amt, who I consider a friend and a kindred spirit.

Her home is filled with art — art she has made, that others have made, and art that appears all on its own in the form of rusted bits, old tools, brushes, papers, and more. "If there's anything here you want to shoot, feel free,” she said.

I hadn’t brought my photo equipment. A stricken look on her face. “What?!” Nope. Nothing. Hadn’t even thought about it. “You can use my camera if you want.” Nope. I didn’t even take out my cellphone.

Sometimes you just have to go commando, enjoying the person, the environment, the “stuff” without putting something to your face, something between you and her, you and her art, you and her cute little dog. You just want to enjoy without feeling you must document or record.

Not one pixel was put into play during my delightful time with her. But the overall feel, the impressions, the brain synapses that snapped, are unforgettable and will always remain — despite (and perhaps because there was) no photo equipment getting in the way. Here’s part of what I wrote to her afterward:

“I’m sitting on a couch with my eyes closed and click, I see your kitchen with the choppers on the wall. Click, and I see carved wooden birds. Click, and I see the painterly picture of Marty. Click, and I see a dull yellow lacquer box with Asian characters on it. Click, and I see Rusty walking on the unrolled paper in your studio. Click, and I see a binder page of matchbox labels. Click, and I see a small painted star in the center of a tambourine. Click, click, click, image after image of an incredible space and a wonderful artist.”

No camera gear? No matter. A delightful day.

©Carol Leigh

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Latest work: "Miss Bergeron"

I don't know about you, but I have a file in my computer called "works in progress." This is where I put everything I'm working on but am not quite sure if the piece is "finished." Don't want to throw it out, don't want to lose it, so I stick it into one particular directory to be looked at and worked on later, with fresher eyes, with new eyes. Or I may simply toss it out, knowing it will never really work.

I looked at my "works in progress" directory this morning, looking for something a bit lighter, a bit brighter than what I've been producing of late. This image caught my eye. I added just one more thing to it (a Chinese receipt) and considered it done.

I created this postcard using photos of stamps from my collection, various cancellation marks, a hand-painted background, a Chinese receipt I found in my dad's drawer, and a fanciful bird. I like the overall lightness and the underlying feeling of mystery.

© Carol Leigh

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Latest work: "Imposing Order"

Ink, paper, scribblings went into this piece. What I particularly like is the combination of unconstrained forms and swirls with extremely linear elements. An attempt to rein in chaos, but not very successfully!

©Carol Leigh

Monday, September 22, 2014

Latest work: "Looking Backward"

Wow, this is dark, isn't it? But then my days recently have been dark. I am back home, however, and things should begin lightening up. The amount of work to be done regarding my father's estate is daunting, but I can now set up my files so they make more sense, and get on with things.

I am also discontinuing my online store, getting rid of a variety of websites, and figuring out how to sell my domain name so that someone else may carry it on. Time to lighten the load, simplify, and make room for new projects, new ideas, new artwork, a new life.

So many images went into the making of this photomontage that it's hard to remember what I did, but I began with some inked rice paper, an old Japanese banknote my dad had, hand-painted circles and lines, various bits of calligraphy, postage stamps from my collection, and a Japanese woodblock print.

And David O., how youze doin'?

©Carol Leigh

Saturday, September 20, 2014

He wanted me to see the sea . . .

Dad and I at what looks to me like the Palos Verdes bluffs in southern California, back in the "olden days." Born in January, 1923. Passed away in August, 2014. He had a solid Navy career, commanded many ships, and loved to just get in the car and drive. May he rest in peace.

Sold the first two weeks of September ...

These are some of the photos I sold via Fine Art America during the first two weeks of this month. I am particularly heartened that two of my "postcard" images were in the mix. I love making them, but I realize that their appeal is probably limited, so any sale is a personal bonus!

My Yaquina Head Lighthouse photo is a particular favorite, and I'm always happy to see it go to a good home. The person who bought this opted for a canvas wrap.

The photo of the leaf on copper sold last month as well, but this time the buyer chose to have it printed on metal, size 16" x 24".

The quiet, monochromatic scene of a lone fishing boat was a 29" x 41" print.

And then the "Baja Landscape" photomontage went out as a 24" x 24" print.

It was a good two weeks. Looking forward to seeing what sells the rest of this month.

©Carol Leigh

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Partway home . . .

Good morning from Sioux City, Iowa, alongside the Missouri River, where we can wave across the water to the state of Nebraska.

Wish we could explore leisurely on this trip, but we have been gone a month, we are relying way too much on the kindness of a neighbor to feed Abby the cat, and we just want to get home to begin the next chapter of our life.

Photography is beginning to kick back in, and I love the photos I took this morning of low sunlight creating shadows through pilings in a marina, just a little mist to create a golden glow. The light was changing so fast, I didn't want to waste it using a cellphone, so no, no photos accompanying this post. Beautiful scenario with the background rattle of a kingfisher adding to the ambience.

We have been driving from morning to early evening, exploring little towns when we just can't take the monotony of 70-mph freeways any more. So far I have purchased two vintage postcards and a cigar box to add to my stash. Cool horses on the box, which I am sure will end up in a photomontage at some point. Am feeling very inspired about doing new work, another reason to get back home.

And now on to South Dakota!

Carol Leigh

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gotta love technology...

I'm calling Verizon, trying to cancel my deceased father's phone and internet service. Armed with a phone number and his account number, I call Verizon, where I encounter a "phone tree" of epic proportions. After establishing and pressing the number of the option I wish, I am given further options. Then they ask for my father's PIN number.

If I could communicate with the dead and retrieve it from Dad, I would, but that option is not available.

So then I press a variety of numbers and am pleasantly told someone will help me. Whereupon I am asked to enter Dad's account number and PIN number.

Once again I am assured that someone will be able to help me and (gasp!) I hear a phone ringing. And I receive a message saying "our offices are closed right now . . ."

Dad is dead and I guess I'm the one in hell . . .

Carol Leigh

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ready to go home ...

We've been here almost a month and we plan on hitting the road Saturday. The house is ready to sell, the realtor has the key, and all future paperwork can be handled from home.

Such a range of emotions this past month, but mostly anger and resentment. Not good. But here are three things I find humorous:

For a house that's so dark and dreary, they had a shitload of brand-new lightbulbs.
For a house that was so dirty, they had a huge amount of cleaning supplies.
And for linoleum floors that were filthy, they had five unopened bottles of Mop 'n' Glo.

Heavy sigh. And people wonder why I'm so weird? I wonder how I turned out so "normal!"

Hoping this is my last post from Virginia ...

Carol Leigh

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Another tip for getting your life in order . . .

I continue to clean out my father's house, and I am discovering old prescription bottles full of pills (some of them very powerful pain medication) dating back as far as July of 1988! I've read online how to dispose of them, but man, oh, man! These are 26 years old!

Right now, go look in your medicine cabinet. If you find prescriptions for someone who died three years ago, or who passed away last month, or that pre-date the Internet, GET RID OF THEM!

Carol Leigh, still in Virginia ...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Photos sold during the last two weeks of August

August was a good month for me at Fine Art America, and I am so grateful. Here's what sold during the last two weeks of the month and a little bit about each one.

Jan and Ira G. brought me a big bundle of Chinese lanterns when they arrived for a workshop on the Oregon coast. As you can see, I added some texture to the simple composition. This one was large -- 48" x 32".

I created the two colorful number pictures by using various photos as well as some paper that I hand-printed. I purposely created two of them so that someone might be encouraged to purchase the pair. These were about 24" x 30".

The picture of graffiti on the side of a railroad car was purchased by someone on Staten Island. Appropriate, no?

The two abstracts with the circles in them were purchased together (which is always nice). I created the green/brown one by photographing various papers and then combining them together as a collage. The second one is a monoprint I made using rubber bands and paint. Both were 24" x 24".

Chris brought home a piece of patinated copper which I photographed and then added a photo I made of a leaf.

The second-to-last image is a photomontage I made combining all sorts of torn papers and receipts. The buyer selected a 36" x 36" size.

And then the last one is a photo of graffiti that a buyer selected as a cellphone cover. I like seeing how my photos look as cellphone covers, and am constantly surprised with the pictures they select.

As you can see, some of these are "straight" photography, but most are images I've created myself, combining various photos together, resulting in something unique, not seen anywhere else.

I am still in Virginia, sorting, cleaning, assembling the various bits and pieces of what my father left behind. My computer access is spotty and, since it's not my own computer with my own images and options, it's been challenging, as you might imagine. A court date tomorrow will tell me what my path will be from here on out, so keep your fingers crossed that the judge determines the easy way rather than the more complex.

Chris is home for a week, tending to business there, then arrives shortly to help wind things down here. So after a month away, we plan to drive back to Oregon, stopping here and there for some much-needed photo breaks and R&R.

Have you ever lived out of a suitcase away from home, in foreign and chaotic surroundings, away from friends, away from pets, amid dust and decay and haunting memories? It's lonely-making, stressful, and soul-wrenching. May none of you have to go through this.

And please, please, please, get your affairs in order so that your heirs can fly through your belongings, selecting meaningful items as they remember you fondly. (Although I do confess to having 14,000 Czechoslovakian matchbox labels that I know SOMEone will wonder what the hell was she thinking!?)

©Carol Leigh